Friday, May 13, 2005

midwest, south, etc?

I've recently received much flack for what I consider east, west, midwest, far east, etc.... check out this Question and answer from goegraphics names information system a US governement entity.

25. I need to know the official names and definitions (extents) of regions. For example, what is “the Midwest,” “the South,” etc?
There are no official designations for regions at any level of government. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which is responsible by law for standardizing geographic name usage throughout the Federal government, is often asked for official names and boundaries of regions. However, there are none officially. Regions are application driven and highly susceptible to perception. Sometimes, people might agree on the core of a region, but agreement deteriorates rapidly outward from that core. The criteria or application would have to be defined, such as physiographic (this would include parts of States, but there is more than one system); political (definite disagreement based upon perception); cultural (unlimited variables); and other applications. Generally, geographers use four (4) generic requirements for a region to be formed: area, boundary (or transition zone), at least one factor of homogeneity or sameness, and a process to drive the region or to keep it functioning as a region. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has taken the same approach. One can be sure that if anyone or any organization announces standards for regions, it is only their own based upon their own needs or application.


palegreenhorse said...

well yes, people make up whatever they want to fit their own needs... but when people think about the regions of the us they are thinking more in terms of center of mass rather than area. there are maps called cartograms that take things like population into effect when drawing the map. so it distorts the map for navigational purposes but it shows the population distribution better. check out CartoDraw for some explanation and some cool examples.

palegreenhorse said...

oh ya, watch the video at the bottom of the page i linked to in my comment. it is kinda interesting to watch idaho and nevada get squished into super small states.